Affirmations Are Not a Secret

Yet, how many of us don’t believe they work?

“Fake it till you make it.” “Act as if.” “See it. Say it. Believe it. Do it.”

If you have been around the block a few times, you undoubtedly have heard these phrases or ones like them. But hearing them is not the same as using them and BELIEVING them.

It takes practice and willingness to fail and pick the stickers off our cheap thrift store suit

Belief is a fickle beast. It takes practice and willingness to fail and pick the stickers off our cheap thrift store suit as I did before I staggered into my first AA meeting in July of 1986. But it did. And I showed up, even though I didn’t know what to believe or if I even wanted to stop. All I knew was that if I didn’t change something I would probably die before I reached my 23rd birthday.

Long story short, I tried to believe I could stop on my own and tried desperately for the next three months before finally giving up for good.

We want a shortcut to success. Guess what? There isn’t one. So STOP LOOKING FOR IT!

What’s the point? The point is that we all have dreams and goals and problems that we want to accomplish or resolve but most of us either don’t know where to start or even if we do, don’t believe that we are worthy. That we can accomplish something. Worse, most of us want instant gratification. The path of least resistance. We want a shortcut to success. Guess what? There isn’t one. So STOP LOOKING FOR IT!

One of the simplest and easiest spots to change the trajectory of your life is to start a daily practice of gratitude, prayer, and meditation. Why? Because so many of us are externally motivated and driven by ego that we want what we want when we want it but really don’t have any meaningful reason why other than it will make us feel like we are worthy.

True success is way more than that. Lasting success is built one painful mistake at a time. One failure. One risk, one misstep, one adjustment. One goal, one bold step forward. Prayer, meditation, and gratitude help you focus on what really matters. The internal change of who you become that is lasting and way more significant than earning another 12k per year.

Being grateful for what you have frees up your mental space to receive more of what the universe has to offer you. The same is true for prayer and meditation as well as writing affirmations.

Prayer and meditation help you focus on what really matters. Affirmations are present positive statements that reinforce and create a mental shift in your belief system from I can’t to I can.

for affirmations to work you have to trust in forces unseen…you must believe them to be true.

But for affirmations to work you have to trust in forces unseen, yourself, and be bold enough to take action rather than just write them down and say them. Lastly, you must believe them to be true.

This takes practice. Lots. It takes discipline and daily repetition of stating that which you want as if you already have it day in and day out. As you do so it shall be.

It’s inexplicable but when you shift your thinking to what can be opportunities miraculously and inexplicably begin to manifest themselves in your lives. I have experienced this for more than 40 years ever since I first discovered the incredible power of affirmations.

Here is my current one:

It feels great to have written enough good stuff for 100 people to follow me on Medium

It feels great to have written enough good stuff for 100 people to follow me on Medium so I can start to earn some money. More importantly, though I have wisdom and knowledge that I want to share with others than can help them live better lives and that’s why I write.

Yes, I want to make a few more bucks but really I look forward to the day when I can say, wow in 2022 I wanted 100 followers, now five years later I have 10,000+. I am living proof this affirmation stuff really works.

Note: in July I had 17 followers. Since writing this affirmation in July, I am now at 83 + and believe that I will hit 100 by the end of September if not sooner.

Take a chance on yourself. Believe in yourself. You are worth it.

Shawn Langwell is a highly respected leader, author, and speaker. He is a recovered alcoholic with 35+ years of continuous sobriety who writes and talks on a variety of topics and is available to address any audience, anywhere on the topics of recovery, business strategy, or goal setting.

Find him at

Photo by Ivan Dostál on Unsplash

New Routines = Better Outcomes

I’m in the middle of reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

I find it fascinating. He masterfully distills tons of research into simple, easy-to-grasp concepts, and leverages the power of story to illustrate not only the how, but more importantly, the what and why.

I’m only 1/3 of the way in, but I just got through reading about how all habits are really a function of three elements: cues, routines, and rewards. Charles also used the back story of AA and the 12-steps of recovery as one example of how changing our routines can literally change our lives.

He got it right.

I know, as I have successfully used and applied the 12-steps for more than three decades. I can attest to the effectiveness of his key premise—that when you change your routines, you change your habits and create new, healthy cravings that produce the results or rewards you desire. The old habits never completely go away. We just learn to replace or override them with new routines. Ones that enhance, and often improve, our outcomes and results.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to it. But one thing is certain, as I’ve heard many times from different people—if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you got. Doing the same things expecting different results is, according to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity.

Am I calling you insane? No. But repeating the same routines and patterns of (often destructive) behavior will not produce a different or better outcome. So stop. Do something different. Aren’t you worth it?

Or, perhaps you’re content with what you have. If so, great. But, if you are like me and the millions of others who struggle with a garden variety of quirks, habits, even compulsions or obsessions, and if you’re not happy with how you feel and where you are, then wouldn’t it be prudent to look at mixing up your routine a bit?

I’ve had to change routines many times throughout my life. I probably always will. So will you.

Here’s one thing I learned in thirty-five years of recovery—changing the habit is often not as hard as the first step: recognizing, admitting, or identifying something that isn’t working. (In my case, the first step: acknowledging that I was an alcoholic and that my life was unmanageable). I’ve practiced that routine— identify the problem before looking at possible solutions—so many times that it has become automatic.

Once I do the first step, then I need to become really clear about what I want (solution/reward), then I need to find the courage to change—to try something different and stick with it until it becomes new routine or habit. Whenever I do this—change my routine (my habits)—just as Duhigg shows in The Power of Habit, my life improves. Yours will too.

Recovering from my addiction to alcohol was just one of many areas where I replaced a routine that was no longer working with one that would.

If we had more time, I could list hundreds of examples from my career, relationships, as a parent, as a leader, as human with normal “life problems” where what I was doing stopped producing the results I wanted and forced or inspired me to want to change. I am sure you have your own list. But the important questions to ask are: what have you done about it that’s worked and what isn’t working? And the bigger question is do you want to do anything about it? If so, I hope you do.

My inspiration and desire to change varies depending on the circumstances surrounding the problems or opportunities I am facing—in other words, if I am not in enough pain or have a big enough need to change, I probably won’t. That’s perfectly normal.

With my addiction, the need was clear— it really was a matter of life or death. In my sales career, I had to stop being afraid of rejection and learn to become more empathetic and confident. In my relationships, I had to stop being a self-centered asshole. You get the idea. In most cases, the threat or reality of losing something was a catalysts for me to get off my ass and do something different.

Sure, each change was uncomfortable, awkward, and even painful at first. Many new habits are. Most change requires courage, boldness, and some deep sense of why (a reward) that adds significance and meaning to the inevitable pain and suffering. But, over time, in recovery and in life, as I learned to replace my old habits with new ones—new routines—my life improved.

I learned not to fear change and that most of what I thought I was afraid of was False Evidence Appearing Real. Lies. Bullshit I believed about who I was and what my worth was and, as a result, I kept repeating the same bad habits expecting different results. Newsflash: That is not a recipe for change or success. But Duhigg’s book is. So is my upcoming release—Ten Seconds of Boldness, as well as hundreds of other proven systems, programs, and resources specific to helping you solve whatever problem or opportunity you have or seek.

But, none of them work, unless you put them into action. Nothing will ever change unless you change your routine, habits, and behavior.

Whatever it is that you may be struggling with or seeking, I hope you A) clearly identify it, B)decide to do something different and, C) find a reason why that is big enough to motivate and sustain you through the pain of change.

I can tell you from personal experience that when you identify the problem, find your why, and harness the courage to change, your life will never be the same again, ever!

If you liked this post and want a little more inspiration and encouragement, please follow me. I will be posting many more blogs and encouraging stories like this which could have a significant impact on your future. You can find more on my website at

Five Key Decisions to Success in Any Endeavor

How many of you have had what you sincerely thought were great ideas but never followed through with them? They could be a solution to a recurring problem at work that you have a solution for but are too afraid to share for fear of being rejected or criticized. Perhaps you are one of the nine in ten people who would love to write a book but not part of the five percent that actually do. Maybe you want to shift jobs or careers but are not sure where to start. Most of us have fantasies of things we would like to be, have, or do, but never get past the “wishful thinking stage.” Why is that? What’s going on?

The problem is we have a faulty belief system. I believe who we are and who we become is a product of five things:

1. Our upbringing.

2. Our experiences.

3. Our environment.

4. Our inner spirit, curiosity, and creativity.

5. What we believe and how we respond to all of the above.

The problem is each of the above create patterns in our minds that translate into fears. One of the most prevalent and insidious one that keeps us forever chained to a life of average and mediocrity is the fear of rejection. But there’s really nothing to fear. I’ve never heard of someone dying when someone told them NO!

According to recent studies, 91% of our fears will not come true. They are worries and lies — figments of our imagination — which serve no good purpose to building our self-image. Most of our fears are not real, but when we believe them, they are.

As Neuroscientist, Stephen Campbell pointed out in my upcoming book, “another exciting discovery about our brain is how it believes EVERYTHING we tell it, without question, no arguments. When we exclaim to ourselves, ‘I simply cannot do this,’ our brains say, ‘Okay! If you say so! ’ And then it makes sure you can’t!”

So what do you do? How do you flip this doom and gloom script in your mind? How do you find the courage to overcome your fear of rejection or missing out or even fear of success?

There are many ways, all start with a bit of courage and making a decision to act. To take an honest look at how you respond and decide to do something different. Part of your improvement plan included taking an honest self-assessment. Evaluating your strengths, where you feel inadequate, and clearly identify areas of your life you would like to be better. These can include everything to a general feeling of greater self-confidence in work or social situations, finding the courage to do something you have always wanted to do, or taking the first step to planning your dream vacation. Whatever it is, you have within you the power to make it become a reality.

Here are five simple steps for you to practice making better bolder decisions:

1. Decide to identify and admit there’s a problem

2. Decide what you want and what you’re going to do about it.

3. Decide to find out why you want it.

4. Decide what you’re willing to do to get it.

5. Decide to get into action and to never give up.

I encourage you to apply these five steps to one or two decisions you have been putting off. Invest the time to stop believing the lies you keep telling yourself and all the ways you can’t do something and start to look for solutions to ways you can.

To learn more, visit and order Ten Seconds of Boldness on August 1st.